Acne is a chronic, inflammatory skin condition with an increase in sebum secretion that causes pimples and spots,especially on the face, shoulders, back, neck, chest, and upper arms.
When your hair follicles become plugged with oil and dead skin cells, acne can occur. Extra sebum can plug up pores, causing the growth of a bacteria known as Propionibacterium acnes, or P. acnes. White blood cells of your body attack P. acnes, leading to skin inflammation and acne. Some cases of acne are more severe than others, but common symptoms include whiteheads, blackheads and pimples. Many factors contribute to the development of acne
, including genetics, diet, stress, hormone changes and infections.
Acne is a common problem with a number of underlying causes. As conventional treatments can cause dryness, redness and irritation, you can take few simple steps in your daily life to prevent or manage if your skin is prone to acne.
Follow a Low Glycemic Load Diet:
Dietary factors, such as insulin and glycemic index, may be associated with acne. Glycemic index (GI) of a food is a measure of how quickly it raises blood sugar.
GI foods causes a spike in insulin leading to increase sebum production. This is the reason high-GI foods are believed to have a direct effect on the development and severity of acne.
Foods with a high glycemic index include white bread, sugary soft drinks, cakes, doughnuts, pastries, candies, sugary breakfast cereals and other processed foods. These foods should be avoided as much as possible to help prevent development of acne. On the other hand foods with a low glycemic index include fruits, vegetables, legumes, nuts and whole or minimally processed grains and should be consumed as much as possible.
Cut Back on Dairy:
Drinking milk and consuming dairy products may cause hormonal changes leading to acne. Limiting milk and dairy consumption may help for those with acne-prone skin.
When you are stressed, the hormones released may increase sebum production and skin inflammation, making acne worse. Stress can also slow down the process of wound healing, which may slow the repair of acne lesions.
You can try certain relaxation and stress-reduction treatments that may help to improve your condition. These include:
- Physical activity
- Taking deep breaths
Exercise promotes healthy blood circulation. The skin cells get nourished by the increase in blood flow, which may help prevent and heal acne. Exercise also plays a role in hormone regulation. Exercise can decrease stress and anxiety, both of which are factors that can contribute to the development of acne. A 30 minutes exercises, 5 days a week is recommended for healthy adults. This can include walking, swimming, hiking, running and lifting weights.
The process of removing the top layer of dead skin cells is known as exfoliate. It can be done mechanically by using a brush or scrub to physically remove the cells or can be removed chemically by applying an acid that dissolves them.
This works by removing the skin cells that clog up pores and thus improve acne. Once the topmost layer of skin is removed, it allows the treatment to penetrate deeper making it more effective. There are a wide variety of exfoliation products available in stores and online. But it is just as easy to make a scrub at home using sugar or salt.
How to Make a Scrub at Home:
- Mix equal parts sugar (or salt) and coconut oil.
- Scrub skin with mixture and rinse well.
- Exfoliate once daily or as often as desired.
It may reduce the appearance of scars and discoloration.
Fish Oil Supplement:
Omega-3 fatty acids are the healthy fats that has many health benefits. Fish oils contain two main types of omega-3 fatty acids namely eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA).
EPA helps managing oil production, maintaining adequate hydration and preventing acne. High levels of EPA and DHA can decrease inflammatory factors, which may reduce the risk of acne. A minimum of 250 to 500 mg of combined EPA and DHA is recommend for healthy adults on daily basis. You can also add omega-3 fatty acids rich food in your diet. These include salmon, sardines, anchovies, walnuts, chia seeds and ground flaxseeds.
Zinc is an essential nutrient that helps in cell growth, hormone production, metabolism and immune function. Taking zinc orally helps reduce acne.
Zinc is available in many forms, and each one contains a different amount of elemental zinc. Elemental zinc refers to the amount of zinc that is present in the compound. Zinc oxide contains the highest amount of elemental zinc. Using 30–45 mg of elemental zinc per day can improve acne.Taking too much zinc may cause side effects, including stomach pain and gut irritation. As because zinc is not effectively absorbed through the skin, applying zinc to the skin is not effective.
If you have severe acne, you may have to consult a dermatologist.